x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Dhoni throws down the gauntlet

The Indian captain has challenged his side to cement their position as the No 1 Test side in the world.

MS Dhoni, the India captain, has challenged his side to cement their position as the No 1 Test side in the world. India replaced South Africa at the summit yesterday with a thumping victory in Mumbai, but Dhoni was not resting on his laurels. "It is a tough ask to get to be the No 1 team in the world especially in Test cricket and we have got there through an all-round team effort," said the wicketkeeper-batsman.

"But the real task starts now because we have maintain the level of performance and the team spirit." Zaheer Khan padlocked the victory by claiming three of the four wickets to fall on the final day, completing a five-wicket haul as India secured victory inside the first hour. But it was Virender Sehwag who set up India's victory with a blistering knock of 293. He was named man of the match and man of the series.

Sehwag echoed Dhoni's sentiments by stressing the importance of the team ethic. "This is a very good team and it's a team effort which has got us to the top," Sehwag said. "I'm very lucky to be a part of this team and I hope we stay at the No 1 spot for a long time to come." The dashing opener now has five of the 10 fastest double hundreds in Test matches but fell seven runs short of becoming the first batsman to score three triple centuries.

"I scored two triple centuries and I'd rate this one behind those two," he said. "I approached this innings with an open mind and I always backed myself to play my shots against the spinners. "I just concentrated on hitting the bad balls and although the guys in the dressing room say I hit the good balls as well, to my mind I was only hitting the bad deliveries." Sri Lanka arrived in India knowing a series win of any sorts would propel them to the summit, but they were soundly beaten.

"We came here knowing this would be a tough series, but the Indian team outperformed us in every aspect of the game, especially in the last two matches," said Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lanka captain. "They continued to pile the pressure on us, but we couldn't do the same to them. "We won the toss, we put almost 400 runs on the board, but then Sehwag took the game away from us. The advantage was wholly with them once they got 700-plus on the board.

"Two-nil is a realistic scoreline the way the Indians played and the way we played, especially in the last two Test matches. "But we are a better side than what the scoreline says, we got to accept the fact that if we don't play well enough we are going to be placed in situations like these. The guys have fought hard throughout the series and we did all that we could but it wasn't enough." * With agencies